A few weeks ago a friend asked me about that couple who quit their jobs to move to another city to grow a church. Ah yes, that would be Darryl and Vonda Dozlaw who moved from Regina to Saskatoon to plant a church. Perhaps there are others out there who would like to know about all things Dozlaw so here goes in 500 words or less.
In August, Darryl and Vonda moved into their new home in the Riversdale neighborhood of Saskatoon. A few immediate repairs were needed to their new 100 year old house but as Darryl shared, “The house is awesome. It’s what we wanted, what we were planning, what we were dreaming of when we started envisioning where we would be and what we would do here. We thought a lot about open space on the main floor of the house with the kitchen close by and that’s exactly what we have.”
And what were they envisioning for this open space? Well, things like ordination parties (Darryl was ordained in October) where 20-25 people could chat/eat/celebrate and think-tank meetings where folks could share a meal and dream/dialogue about church planting.
Vonda accepted a full time teaching contract in a grade school environment she is familiar with and Darryl is getting just the right amount of supply teaching allowing him the time and energy to network in the community and church plant.
The Dozlaws’ journey has not all been rosy. To name a few things that have gone wrong: there have been water issues in their new/old home, the fuel lines of Darryl’s motorcycle were cut, Vonda’s cell phone was stolen and their house in Regina was not selling.
As Darryl told me, “You think you’re going to start a new work that’s dedicated to introducing people to Jesus? You think you’re going to pull that off and there’s not going to be any resistance at all? We have experienced resistance. It’s all been completely annoying and distracting but not dangerous. It’s really easy to start to become discouraged. We did what God told us and we stepped out in faith and everybody cheered and then the wind started to blow.”
Recognizing that this ministry warrants opposition, Darryl and Vonda have spent a lot of time chatting with God, “As a faith journey we continue to hold onto what we know to be true and that is before we got here God continued to give us affirming signals from people and situations and from his word. When we got here we continued to get those affirmations even in the face of discouragement.”
For me the coolest part of Darryl’s update was hearing about all the neighbourhood connections they have made in such a short period of time. From the day they took possession of their home they have been getting to know their neighbours and local business owners. They have hosted a backyard “world” party complete with a campfire and music. Yeah, I had to ask too. Darryl explained, “The idea of a world party is that the people from my work-world meet the people from my neighbourhood-world and the people from my neighbourhood meet the people from my church-world.”
Darryl has been chatting with Lakeview FMC’s board about sponsoring or partnering with their church plant. Pretty cool timing for both parties as Lakeview’s new teaching pastor, Joe Manafo, has planted a church and can bring his knowledge and experience to the table. Darryl and Vonda are intentionally becoming actively involved in Lakeview’s culture as they feel this is an important part of the partnership.
And the awesome news continues: the Dozlaw’s Regina house sold and the new buyer took possession December 24th! As the cloud of a complicated double mortgage disappears they are experiencing a renewed sense of focus and freedom, “We can get back to thinking and dreaming and networking with the neighbourhood. There is a lightness that has returned to each day.”
And don’t worry Darryl and Vonda, we are still cheering. Just let us know when you need us to turn up the volume.